The Houston Dynamo came off a 2-1 win at home against Orlando City SC and hoped to carry that momentum when they went on the road to Banc of California Stadium to face LAFC in a midweek matchup. Despite a solid effort for most of the match, the now Supporters’ Shield winners showed up in a few key spots to find the net and deny the Dynamo.
The Houston Dynamo started off with a great chance in the opening minutes with Oscar Boniek García winning the ball in a great position. As he pushed towards goal he played a ball to Mauro Manotas to his right, but the ball wasn’t a great one and Manotas had to take a touch to settle it and the LAFC defense did well to stop the danger early.
Houston was back at it as they built up play in the 7th minute with a great through pass wide to Memo Rodríguez. Memo cut inside and drew pressure and then played a ball to Adam Lundqvist who was wide to his left. Lundqvist then sent in a ball across to Tomás Martínez who struck the side crossbar, but Lundqvist was in an offside position and play was called back.
LAFC began to take back some of the possession as the game went on and really challenged left back Adam Lundqvist. In the 16th minute Tristian Blackmon went at Lundqvist and was brought down outside the side of the 18 yard box resulting in a free kick, but the set piece would go out for a goal kick.
In the 22nd minute Kiki Struna brought down Brian Rodríguez inside the penalty area with head referee Ramy Touchan immediately pointing to the spot. Carlos Vela stepped up and beat Joe Willis who guessed the direction of the shot correctly. 1-0 LAFC.
The Dynamo would equalize soon after in the 28th minute on an Adam Lundqvist corner. Lundqvist sent in a high corner which resulted in Kiki Struna trying to kick it in. Mohamed El-Munir cleared it almost off the line, but cleared it into his own goalkeeper Tyler Miller which led to an own goal.
LAFC almost had their second penalty of the night just minutes after Houston’s equalizer as Boniek appeared to bring down Lee Nguyen inside the penalty area. Replay showed that it looked like Nguyen kicked himself, but after a VAR review Boniek’s contact was outside the box. Vela’s free kick outside the 18 yard box struck the crossbar and the Dynamo could breathe a bit still level at a goal apiece.
The game would go into the half locked at 1-1 in an exciting match with both sides going at each other. With LAFC gaining more possession, it allowed the Dynamo to find room on the counter, catching the LAFC back line flat footed at times. On the other end LAFC pinned Houston back and found some great passes in dangerous areas, but the Dynamo defense had largely been up to the task of transitioning the ball back to offense after regaining possession.
The second half began with more of the same with both sides exchanging chances. The best chance early for Houston came after the 56th minute as José Bizama earned a free kick outside the 18 yard box towards the end line. The ball was sent in and nearly went in before cleared, but Houston got a second chance after the clearance which was also unfortunately cleared.
LAFC had a few very close chances around the 65th minute with the Dynamo narrowly escaping with LA’s forwards not being able to get on the end of it. Davy Arnaud would take off Mauro Manotas not long after for Alberth Elis who could exploit some of the space the Dynamo had been finding on the counter.
The home side would get their second goal coming from Diego Rossi. After an LAFC cross, Maynor Figueroa got a foot on it which had the ball strike the crossbar. Rossi was quick back post to deliver a diving header to put it passed Willis and Kiki Struna.
Carlos Vela almost made it 3-1 in the 78th minute with Lee Nguyen playing a perfectly weighted through ball. Vela got there and played his shot back post on Willis, but it was just off the mark.
It wasn’t long after though for LA to add to their tally this time coming from a free kick outside the 18 yard box. A Matías Vera foul led to the free kick and Eduard Atuesta curled one low to beat Joe Willis in the 82nd minute.
Atuesta makes it look easy! pic.twitter.com/ap99LDeQG3— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 26, 2019
Houston nearly pulled one back from the corner spot again. After the ball was played in, Elis got a head to it and played it low into the corner, but Lee Nguyen was there to clear it off the line with Tyler Miller Beaten.
The final whistle would blow with the Dynamo falling on the road 3-1. Overall it was a good effort and it was generally well managed by interim manager Davy Arnaud, but LAFC – now the Supporters’ Shield winners – got to where they are for a reason.
Next up for the Houston Dynamo is a Sunday evening matchup against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium and kickoff will be at 6:30 PM CT.
23’ LAFC: Carlos Vela (penalty)
28’ HOU: Tyler Miller (own goal)
70’ LAFC: Diego Rossi
82’ LAFC: Eduard Atuesta
33’ HOU: Kiki Struna (yellow card)
56’ LAFC: Mohamed El-Munir (yellow card)
75’ LAFC: Eduard Atuesta (yellow card)
81’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-4-2): Joe Willis; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, José Bizama; Memo Rodríguez (71’ Tommy McNamara), Oscar Boniek García (85’ Darwin Cerén), Matías Vera, Tomás Martínez; Mauro Manotas (67’ Alberth Elis), Christian Ramirez
LAFC (4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Mohamed El-Munir (71’ Jordan Harvey), Eddie Segura, Walker Zimmerman, Tristian Blackmon; Latif Blessing, Eduard Atuesta, Lee Nguyen; Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Brian Rodríguez (57’ Mark Anthony-Kaye)